The Devil and Webster by Jean Hanff Korelitz | Shiny New BooksCollege campuses are in the news for various reasons these days, student rights and racism on the top of that list. The Devil and Webster offers a unique perspective inside some of these issues, and a very different perspective from which to view the discussions. Whereas most novels or nonfiction narratives about college campuses come from the viewpoint of students themselves, the opposite is the case in this novel. We see the events unfold from the POV of a very different person: the college president. Naomi Roth was an activist in her youth, a knowledgeable and passionate human being who has worked in ROTC and Vista, who has always helped others, always worked wholeheartedly on issues concerning her community. So when she becomes president of Webster College—previously conservative but in recent decades extremely progressive and proud of its activist history—she finds it a perfect match.
The Devil and Webster Summary & Study Guide
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I read it with huge admiration and enjoyment, and gave it a very positive review in the very first edition of Shiny [ here ]. I was excited to see where she had gone from the previous book, which was best described as a psychological thriller. I was expecting great writing, wit, perceptiveness and intelligence, and I certainly got all those. Politically it has an interesting history. Founded originally to educate [ie brainwash] Native American students into a life of Christian conformity, it has managed to shake off its excessively conservative roots and become a lively, liberal, open-minded institution:.
Naomi struggles to preserve dialogue and transparency, and to maintain favorable publicity so that enrollment will increase. Things start well. There were bells and whistles, of course, myriad responsibilities, drudgery, absurdities, little challenges like speechifying and remembering names and riding the general rocket that was twenty-first century selective admissions in a helicopter parent culture, but at the end of the day the job boiled down to these three. This blithe attitude is tested when a popular professor of folklore is denied tenure. The aptly named Professor Gall has published only one work, which was plagiarized. When students get wind of his pending dismissal, they come to his defense, camping out in the quad to protest.
'The Devil And Webster' Explores Tolerance, Inclusion And Identity The Secret History, the New England campus novel par excellence.
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